Friday, September 28, 2012
The ABA Journal announced in its October issue that Jim McElhaney, longtime author of the Journal’s Litigation column, is retiring from that post. He goes out with a flourish on the magazine’s cover and in a feature article about his career, first in the JAG Corps and later as a professor, lecturer, editor, and writer.
McEhlaney believed lawyers must be good storytellers. “Stories grab us in a way no list of facts could ever do. So why would you make your story difficult to follow?”
I’ve mentioned several of McElhaney’s columns on this blog; many of his gems are especially relevant to legal writing. Readers may be interested in the journal’s story with its photos of McElhaney and his wife enjoying their New Mexico home.
Some of parting words of McElhaney’s wisdom from the article seem appropriate here:
I want everything I express to do so cleanly, clearly and simply. Law schools teach you to talk funny, and lawyers want to sound “special” coming out of the law school environment. I was so happy to spend my academic life talking like a normal person.